A review of the brutal disinformation campaign made by the Soviet dictatorship

Katyn 1940, Bucha 2022: what the Kremlin can do to deny its crimes

The Bucha Massacre in Ukraine has shocked the world and has been answered with a disinformation campaign by Russia.

Katyn: the gross lies and communist denial of the massacre of 22,000 Poles
Vasily Blokhin: This Is How the USSR Turned the Greatest Executioner in History into a Hero

Katyn and Bucha: two massacres with remarkable similarities

The mass execution of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha, handcuffed, kneeling and shot in the back of the head, is very reminiscent of the execution method used by the Soviet NKVD in the Katyn massacre, which began in early April 1940. A few months earlier, in September 1939, Nazi Germany and the USSR, then allies, had invaded Poland and divided up the country. A total of 21,768 Polish prisoners of war were murdered by the Soviets at Katyn, a brutal war crime for which the perpetrators were never tried.

Stalin said that those killed had escaped to Manchuria

After the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941, the Soviets joined the Allied side. Initially, the Soviets did not want to give any explanation about what happened to those Polish officers about whom nothing had been heard again (their families saw how the letters they sent were returned unanswered). In December 1941, the Prime Minister of the Polish Government in exile, General Wladyslaw Sikorski, visited Stalin and asked him about the whereabouts of thousands of Polish officers who had been taken prisoner by the Soviets in 1939 and who never returned to their homes.

The Soviet dictator knew perfectly well what had happened, since he himself signed the order to carry out the massacre in March 1940. To cover up the truth, Stalin told Sikorski that the prisoners had escaped and gone to Manchuria, more 6,000 kilometers from Poland. It was clearly a lie. The communist dictator added another lie to his story, stating that they had only arrested Poles who were in the service of Germany, something absurd, since they were members of the Polish Army that had been at war with Germany since September 1, 1939. In the same meeting, Stalin contradicted himself by stating that perhaps those prisoners were in camps in territories occupied by the Germans and escaped, something that did not convince the Poles, since if they had, they would have found out (by that time it was already active a broad resistance movement in German-occupied Poland).

The USSR changed its version after the discovery of the graves and blamed Germany

Between the fall of 1941 and April 1943, the Polish Government in exile sent 200 petitions to the USSR requesting information about these missing prisoners. It never received a convincing explanation of his whereabouts. Finally, and without knowing exactly when they were found (it is estimated that between the end of 1942 and February of the following year), in April 1943 Germany revealed the discovery of the mass graves with the victims of the massacre.

After the discovery, the USSR blocked any attempt by the International Red Cross to investigate what happened. Its lack of interest in knowing the truth about these mass graves was already very revealing, but then a new lie arrived: Moscow changed its version and accused Germany of having committed the massacre, stating that the Polish prisoners of war were working in 1941 on construction sites west of Smolensk and that in the summer of 1941 they were captured by the Germans, a version that the USSR had never given the Polish government before. When the Polish government in exile asked the International Red Cross to investigate what had happened, the USSR accused him of being "Hitler's Polish associates" and broke diplomatic relations with it.

The creation of false evidence by the Soviet NKVD

In September 1943, when the Red Army took over the area where the massacre had taken place, the NKVD - the Soviet counterpart of the Gestapo - manipulated the mass graves by planting false evidence to support the new Kremlin version. The work to alter the tombs lasted for three months. Finally, the USSR organized a crude commission of investigation to reaffirm its lies, interviewing witnesses prepared by the NKVD and using as a basis the false evidence left by the Soviets in the graves.

After the war, the Polish communist dictatorship, a puppet regime of the USSR, assumed the Soviet version of the massacre and those who asked to investigate the truth suffered harsh persecution. In the West there was not much interest in knowing the truth either, since the Americans and British already had proof during the war of the Soviet authorship of the massacre, but they preferred not to stir up the matter so as not to inconvenience their Soviet allies. In 1946, during the Nuremberg Trials, the Soviets tried to pass a report on the massacre by blaming the Germans, without evidence or questioning of witnesses. Finally, in the sentence of those trials the massacre was omitted due to lack of evidence.

The lie about Katyn was embodied in a Soviet monument

On March 3, 1959, Aleksandr Sheelepin, then director of the KGB -successor to the NKVD-, ordered the personal files on the Katyn massacre to be destroyed. Their existence is still a matter of controversy today, as some believe that they were not destroyed and that Russia still has them. For 50 years, the USSR denied the truth about the massacre. Not only that, but also the Soviet government directed diplomatic protests at Western countries that paid tribute to the victims of Katyn, as happened with the inauguration of the Katyn Monument in London in 1976. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia published the false version of the massacre for years, until in the 1970s it suppressed the entry on Katyn. At the height of infamy, and surely in response to the London monument, in 1978 the USSR inaugurated a monument in Katyn with the inscription: "To the victims of fascism: Polish officers shot by the Nazis in 1941", a monument that was removed in 1990.

Finally, in 1991, shortly before the disappearance of the USSR, the Soviet government acknowledged the real authorship of those crimes. During an investigation launched in the early 1990s by Russia's Chief Military Prosecutor's Office, it was discovered that the Soviet commission on the massacre had falsified the facts to blame the Germans.

Communists continue to deny the truth and Russia hinders the investigation

Despite the evidence, to this day the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Communist Party of Poland continue to support the Soviet lie about the massacre. Likewise, in July 1994 the Russian Military Prosecutor's Office closed the investigation into the massacre, dismissing the case for the death of the political and material leaders, although it considered that crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide against the Polish people. Finally, the investigation was assigned to another prosecutor who settled the massacre, describing it as a mere "abuse of power", following the official Russian line of downplaying what happened and presenting it as a simple case of mistreatment of prisoners. In 2004, Russia settled a new investigation into the massacre, denying that it was genocide and classifying it as a common crime, declaring most of the volumes of the investigation secret, to which Poland has not had access.

This attempt to hide the truth about the Katyn massacre has taken place at the same time that the government of Vladimir Putin was developing a campaign to whitewash communism and even dictators like Lenin and Stalin.

The Kremlin's disinformation campaign on the Bucha massacre

It is tragic to see how 82 years later history repeats with the Bucha massacre, described as a "set-up" by the Kremlin, stating that the Russian soldiers did not kill any residents of the town. Some lies that have already been answered with evidence. Meanwhile, pro-Russian propagandists and activists are at pains to spread other false narratives, such as claiming that the victims were actually Russians, blaming the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, implying that it was the British MI6, the American CIA or the Israeli Mossad, and even blaming the massacre of big pharmaceuticals. Anything but admit that it was the Russians, that they are the ones who invaded Ukraine and took Bucha. These hoaxes are also launched, ignoring the existing evidence and witness statements that accuse the Russians of perpetrating the massacre. A crude disinformation operation that is beginning to remind a lot of the one the Kremlin set up to cover up the Katyn massacre.


Image: frame from the Polish film "Katyn" (2007).

Don't miss the news and content that interest you. Receive the free daily newsletter in your email:

Opina sobre esta entrada:

Debes iniciar sesión para comentar. Pulsa aquí para iniciar sesión. Si aún no te has registrado, pulsa aquí para registrarte.